blogging by Andrew Wickliffe

The Studio Murder Mystery (1932, Joseph Henabery)

A scene from THE STUDIO MURDER MYSTERY, directed by Joseph Henabery for Warner Bros.

The Studio Murder Mystery is a lame little short mystery. It takes place at a Hollywood studio, just before and after a troublesome star is murdered. The before parts aren’t so bad–Henabery has a little fun with the movie in the movie stuff and the scene at the commissary where the cast’s gossip establishes the ground situation works too.

But then there’s the murder and the detectives arrive. Donald Meek’s the criminologist, John Hamilton’s the experienced copper. They have absolutely no chemistry together and Burnet Hershey’s script toggles between the two investigating. They never work together on the case.

The conclusion has a meager chase scene. Studio was obviously done cheap and Henabery just doesn’t have the chops to make a cheap chase work. He also can’t get it to pace well–the mystery is too thin–and Studio drags at nineteen minutes. The last handful are agonizingly boring.

1/3Not Recommended


Directed by Joseph Henabery; screenplay by Burnet Hershey, based on a story by S.S. Van Dine; director of photography, Edwin B. DuPar; released by Warner Bros.

Starring Donald Meek (Dr. Crabtree), John Hamilton (Insp. Carr), Robert Middlemass (Boris Seminoff), Thelma Tipson (Dolly Demarest), Walter Fenner (Ian Stevens) and Jane Bramley (Mae Norton).


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